From the podium

From the podium

His Excellency Askar Myrzakhmetov (First Vice-Minister for Agriculture of the Republic of Kazakhstan) (Original language Russian)

Mr. Chairman,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

We can say today, with a certain amount of certainty, that the 1996 Rome Declaration and Plan of Action of the World Food Summit have laid the foundations of the solution of the most important tasks facing humanity today, with world food security as their major concept.

In December, our country celebrated a decade of independence. The fundamental criteria for the development of our country were, in fact, laid down in the strategy to 2030. All the major features of the Rome Declaration were incorporated into it.

Kazakhstan is an agricultural country. The land given over to agriculture is about 98.3 million ha, of which about 19.6 million ha are cultivable. The area of irrigated land is about 2.3 million ha. The development of the agricultural sector is a defining factor of the stability, not only of the economy but also of the social and political life of society, as around 44 percent of the Republic's population live in rural areas.

For the last few years, after having moved away from the centrally planned economy, we have carried out structural reform, liberalization of prices and privatization of state property and we have adopted a market-basis for our agriculture. As the result of the work being done now we have 99 percent privatized agricultural sector.

In the last years, on average, we have had about 12 million ha of grain, producing around 12 to 15 million tons of grain, of which 75 percent is wheat. This meets total internal demand for grain in particular, including food grain, and we can actually export about four to five million tons a year.

In 2001, the total quantity of mill grain was about 15.9 tons, with an internal demand of 7.5 million tons. With these resources we will be able to carry out humanitarian aid and there will be a delivery of about 3.000 tons of food grain to Afghanistan.

In addition, we have about 350 000 ha of oil-producing crops on which we produce In the region of 150,000 tons of such crops.

We have great potential, not only for Internal production but also for export, with regard to sugar beet, varying between 270 000 and 280 000 tons. The area sown to cotton has also increased in the South of the country to 185 000 hectares, yielding 410 000 tons. Every year there are about 2.2 million tons of potatoes and about 1.7 million tons of vegetables, which fulfils national Internal demand.

We have to point out that certain recent market conditions have been difficult and, therefore, have hit cattle head and the production of animal products.

In the last few years, as the result of some economical measures the situation in the cattle-breeding is stabilized, there is an annual Increasing of actual meat and milk products and the number of cattle head and poultry.

The increasing of raw materials is not the defined factor for the processing increasing. Today, only 15% of milk and meat is processed and in compare with 1990 it was 60-70%.

The local processing production of meat, milk, animal and vegetable oil, the number of processed fruits and vegetables, poultry, fish do not meet the populations’ demand and import share in it is about 40-60%.

Moreover, raising the question of entry into the WTO, analyzing our national agricultural programs it must be truly competitive. We must, of course, try to bring production up to the necessary levels.

Analysis of the food security situation in my country shows that the market has been satisfied In this regard. We can say, moreover, that the situation is hopeful for the future but there are regions which are less favored In this regard. This means, for example, that a certain number of people will not reach self-sufficiency.

In this regard, in the agricultural plan adopted by the Government this year, it has tried to achieve national food security by Improving the competitive policies of our agriculture and further improvement of the agricultural system. We will try to face up to the most serious Infrastructure problems.

We wish finally to thank FAO very much indeed for taking into full account the advantages that Kazakhstan can offer the international market place, especially to product market and we can also provide grains for Central Asia.

I would like to thank FAO for the technical and consulting assistance in anti-locust campaign, we hope that this cooperation will continue well into the future.

Thank you.

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